This is my favorite soap to make as it’s so good for one’s skin and is gentle enough to use for a facial soap. the following recipe is from my eBook, THE JOY OF MELT AND POUR SOAP CRAFTING.
Oatmeal + Honey + Goat’s Milk Soap
16 ounces white soap base 1/4 cup ground oatmeal [rolled oats, not instant oatmeal] 1 teaspoon organic honey 1 teaspoon powdered goat’s milk 1 teaspoon vanilla fragrance
OR oatmeal, milk & honey fragrance [optional]
4 four-ounce molds
Slice up soap base into small cubes and melt. If not using goat’s milk base, add the powdered goat’s milk. Just before it’s fully melted add oatmeal and honey. Stir well. Add fragrance and remove from heat. When soap is just starting to form a layer, pour into molds. Spritz away any bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. Make sure soap is at room temperature before wrapping. Wrap in cling wrap and label.
Oatmeal Note: The above method will create a soap bar with oatmeal on one side only. To make Oatmeal+Honey+Goat’s Milk with the oatmeal suspended throughout the soap, you must stir in the oatmeal, turn off the crock pot OR double boiler, and stir occasionally for approximately 5-10 minutes while the soap mixture thickens.
I’ve heard and read the argument that any soap that’s made from scratch using oils, liquids and lye is handmade soap. I agree.
There’s the other side of the debate where soapers think that melt and pour soap isn’t handmade. I agree.
Some claim that it’s not handcrafted. I disagree.
I appreciate what made from scratch soap entails. Whether made for personal use or sold online or at crafts fairs, homemade soap is true soap. Those who are new to it may make some mistakes. Fragrances and colors morph, they’ll encounter science-fair worthy lye volcanoes, and they might inadvertently discover DOS [dreaded orange spots] that can appear days or even weeks later. Handmade soap can have a high learning curve for some people. That’s why melt and pour soap crafting is more appealing as crafters don’t have to work with lye and it’s generally considered easier. That may or may not be true as some melt and pour soap crafting techniques are more difficult to master, especially swirling and layering. Yes, even melt and pour soap crafting can be quite time consuming.
Melt and pour soap crafting is a legitimate craft. It’s not just slicing up soap, popping it into the microwave, and getting a perfect bar of soap each time. There are color and fragrance considerations. What, if any, skin-loving additives will you put in your batch? What type of mold will you use? How will you wrap and label your soap?
Nor is it buying a log of soap, cutting it up into a few bars, and wrapping and labeling them. 1. That would be an unscented and uncolored bar of soap. 2. It wouldn’t be handmade or handcrafted — it would be handcut!
Genuine melt and pour soap crafters use the best type of soap base available as they’ve learned what ingredients to look for – and what ingredients to avoid. As I’ve been hand crafting melt and pour soap since 1998, I’ve seen the two standard types of soap base [transparent and opaque] multiply into dozens of different bases such as: shea butter, honey, goat’s milk, avocado oil, yogurt, carrot oil, mango butter, SLS free, etc. I’ve also seen some highly talented crafters out there who make soap in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Handcrafting melt and pour soap has so many wonderful possibilities. Just go to Pinterest and type in the term “M&P” or “melt and pour soap”. You’ll be amazed – and inspired!
Let’s get visual. Here’s a photo of two different types of soap base, transparent and Castile. [Click to enlarge images].
A crafter will see this soap base as the raw material. How does it go from nicely wrapped blocks of soap to much smaller and more colorful [and fragrant] bars of soap?
There are several steps from slicing the soap base, melting it, adding colorant and fragrance and pouring the correct amount into a special soap mold.
Here’s the end result.
See how a raw base can be handcrafted into a dramatically colored and scented bar of soap?
There are several eBooks on melt and pour soap crafting available online. This is wonderful news for those of you who wish to learn this rewarding hobby because you’ll be able to glean many helpful tips and recipes. I’ve written 11 titles, mainly concentrating on the basics that you’ll need to know, along with lots of additives that can customize your sudsy creations in many ways. Soap crafting was once a business for me, but now it’s a necessary hobby. I can’t be without soap!
I test each recipe and include photos of the process, along with the finished soap. So far, I’ve concentrated on recipes that contain a variety of additives, rather than on fancier soaps such as: swirled, 3D, stained glass, multiple layers and/or embeds. I’ve made these soaps in the past, and intend to do so again, but to effectively show such examples, that requires lots of photos. As I’m working on book #4 of the Yolanda’s Yummery series, I unfortunately don’t have time to make AND photograph any intermediate or advanced soap recipes.
Be creative! The best part about your soapy gift is that once it’s properly wrapped in cling wrap, you can decide how to present it to the birthday guy or gal. Since it’s not for sale, you don’t have to concern yourself with INCI terms and labels. You technically don’t even have to label it unless you want to. It’s up to you to list the ingredients as a courtesy so that if someone may be allergic to an ingredient they can regift your soap. To give you some ideas, I’m including the same soap with three different labels in the next section.
One of the simplest ways of presenting your soapy gift is to add it to a gift bag. Gift bags are easy to find in any discount store and they’re inexpensive. They come in such a variety of colors and sizes.
Ribbons also help make a lovely handcrafted creation stand out, whether wrapping the soap or a gift bag or box. If giving a gift bag of soap, you can line it with colorful crinkle cut shred or tissue paper—also available in a wide array of colors.
Say Happy Birthday with hand crafted soap! This unique book contains eight original recipes for all budgets along with melt and pour information and birthday soap presentation tips. Includes 30+ color photos.
When I go to a party store and see the vibrant luau section, I always want to buy the tiki lamps, hula skirts, leis, colorful napkins and paper plates and throw a big party. Doesn’t matter what time of year, it represents that perpetual summer—which can be good if you like warm weather and tropical scenes.
I decided to create a fun recipe to share with you. When the soaping bug hits, it hits hard and this’s the result. Tropical Paradise is a little more involved than a basic single pour method, but not much. Plus, the results are more 3-D!
I chose white soap base as that’s what I had on hand and I wanted a pastel colored theme rather than neon colors. Of course, you can use clear soap base and have a more dramatic looking contrast between clear soap and bright green or whatever color you choose mini palm tree embeds.
Both molds came from the discount store and cost $1 each. One is a storage container; the other is a plastic ice cube tray. Pictured here are the ingredients including, from left to right: containers of mica, white soap base, ice cube tray, and storage containers. The colorful tropical themed napkin is sold in a package of 20. The napkin can be used for wrapping but only after the soap has first been wrapped in cling wrap–otherwise the colors will run.
8 cavity mini palm tree molds [approx. 2 oz total]
Instructions for Palm Tree Mold:
Slice the soap base into small cubes. Just before the soap is fully melted, add the colorant. Adding fragrance to them is optional. Stir well. Slowly pour into the molds. Spritz away bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. This soap will solidify within minutes. Remove and set aside.
NOTE: If you live in an area with low humidity, it’s best to allow this soap to freeze so that it’ll be even easier to keep the little soap inserts/embeds from melting when pouring the second layer.
Instructions for Oval/rectangular Mold:
Prepare your molds by placing one to three of the mini palm trees on the bottom.
Slice up soap base into small cubes and melt. Stir well and add colorant. Add fragrance. Don’t pour it when it’s too hot, make sure it’s cooled down so it won’t melt the mini palm tree embeds. Then pour a small amount into molds, about half the size of your intended soap bar [2 ounces or so]. Spritz away any bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden slightly. Test this by touching it gently with your finger. The surface should be firm but you’ll feel a little give as it won’t be completely solid. Now add more of the mini palm trees. Pour the rest of the soap so that it covers them, although you can have it so the palm trees stick out! Allow to solidify. Once it’s hardened remove from the mold. Make sure soap is at room temperature before wrapping. Wrap in cling wrap and label.
Learn more about soap crafting! Check out my book titles and articles here: soapmaking stuff
Discover how to craft rebatch/hand-milled soap base into a unique and versatile shampoo bar for most hair types. Also includes a recipe for Rooibos tea and apple cider vinegar hair rinse.
This ebook began as a blog post…but it kept on getting longer and longer and longer! As I’m giving a recipe for a soap base that is somewhat different from melt and pour glycerin soap base, I feel as though more background information is needed.
I’m also seeing a plethora of nonfiction ebooks flooding online bookstores that, in some cases, are written by those with little to no knowledge of their topic. Therefore, for those of you who haven’t read any of my books or articles, I have actually made and sold shampoo bars, as well as soap and other bath and body products. I made my first bar of soap way back in 1998. I still maintain my Everything Shea Aromatic Creations website but no longer sell from it. If you look at it,www.everythingshea.comyou’ll see some of my articles about fine hair care, virgin coconut oil, moringa seed oil, etc. I believe in keeping people informed about natural soap and bath and body products.
For many years, I’ve successfully used shampoo bars. I formulate my own unique blends using hair-loving additives like jojoba oil, moringa seed oil, shea butter, goat’s milk, green tea, and Indian herbs such as amla, shikakai, and aritha. I’m not a cosmetologist. I don’t have a PhD in chemistry. I didn’t attend soapcrafting school. Everything I’ve learned has been done the old-fashioned way: by reading and by doing. I’ve invested loads of time and effort into learning all I can about crafting soap, whether it is glycerin melt and pour, or rebatching. When I first began working with rebatch soap, sometimes referred to as hand-milled soap, I wasn’t aware of the difference. I found out after waiting and waiting and waiting for it to melt in a one setting, one-quart crock-pot. Talk about slow! But that was how I began learning.
Crafting books are always in demand, especially around the holiday season. In 2011, I published my first melt and pour soap crafting ebook. Since then, I’ve noticed a proliferation of other ebooks on all types of soap crafting methods, along with how to make other bath and body products. Many of them are written by authors who write about a variety of nonfiction topics.
Last month I was contacted by an author of a soap making book in search of a review. I was interested in seeing what types of soap it covered so I agreed to look at it. When I received the PDF copy, I noticed it had photos, always a plus, but the material seemed to be regurgitated. After reading it, I learned nothing new. Contacting the author to inquire about her soap making experience, I didn’t receive a response.
And that’s the problem with many of the newer titles; the author is just repeating facts they’ve either read online or in other books. Some of them aren’t avoidable, like the history of soap making, but others are. There have even been cases of ebooks that were “written” by authors who found content/recipes on websites, copied and pasted them into a file, and slapped their name on the content.
What I’d encourage you to do when buying nonfiction titles is to take a minute or two and see if the author is an expert in the field they are writing about. When it comes to soap, lip balm, lotions, perfume etc., see if they discuss how they make and/or sell the product[s]. If they don’t sell what they are writing about, then check to see how long they’ve been making the products.
Other tips on finding worthwhile ebooks:
~ How long is the book? Amazon posts an approximate page count, as do other online bookstores. Using the sample feature can give you a clue as to how long the book is, especially if it contains a table of contents. In fact, most nonfiction books should contain one.
~ What is the book’s price? Free. Well, why not take a chance if you have the room [and the time!] but for books priced at $0.99 and above, I’d recommend that you read the sample to see if it’s going to be of interest to you. Another gripe readers may have with a soap crafting book is that it might be about a different type of soap making technique than what they’re seeking. By checking out the sample you avoid downloading the “wrong” type of ebook.
~ Does the book include recipes? Does it only contain recipes? Are the recipes indicated by grams/ounces? Both? If it only contains recipes, does it give information that might be necessary such as safety tips, where to buy supplies, basic facts about soap and/or other body products? For those who make soap from scratch, recipes with accurate measurements are imperative as lye, oils, water and other additives must be carefully calculated.
~ Is a supplier/resource section included? I think it’s helpful to provide resources so that people can easily locate any of the ingredients that the author writes about. When I first began crafting melt and pour soap, I didn’t have any ebooks to read with lots of pictures and step by step instructions. Now all of us do, as there are many to choose from!
Shea butter is a popular additive to soaps, lotions, creams, lip balms, shampoos, conditioners, and lotion bars. Why? The healing qualities of this African nut fat abound, helping those with dry skin, sunburn, minor skin irritations, and in just plain softening and conditioning the skin and hair. You can use either refined or unrefined shea butter in your soaps. You can also purchase a soap base with shea butter already included.
INGREDIENTS: 8 oz. opaque melt & pour soap base 1 teaspoon shea butter 1/2 teaspoon sweet orange essential oil
MOLD: Two 4-oz. rectangle molds
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Slice up the opaque soap base into cubes. 2. Melt the shea butter and the soap in a double boiler OR crock pot. 3. Pour into molds. 4. Refrigerate or freeze until soap is hardened. 5. Unmold and allow to return to room temperature. 6. Wrap in cling wrap. 7. Label.
Today is the first interview with a soap crafter. Allow me to introduce Odette Handley of Riverlea Soap. This very talented lady is from South Africa and she makes some beautiful soap–as you can see. Here is what she has to say about the joys of making soap and running her own business. [Click images to enlarge].
What prompted you to start working with melt and pour soap? I had been making CP soap and was looking for a soap to behave in a different manner, and I wanted to make clear soaps so I thought I would try MP as it didn’t look too difficult. Boy was I wrong. After my first attempt I packed it all away and didn’t try it again for a year. In that time I did some research and realised it could not be as hard as I imagined. I was right I love it now.
What other types of soap do you craft? I make a lot of CP bars. I think working with CP is my favourite. It is so versatile. I have been known on the odd occasion to make liquid soap and Body Butter. Do you also make bath & body products? Yes I make lotions, bath oils, liquid soaps body butters and fizz bombs and solid bubble bath.
When did you decide to sell your soap? This was very soon after I started making soap in 2007. I saw a gap in the market for natural novelty soaps that looked like cup cakes and slices of cakes. So I changed direction slightly from the bars of soap and when straight to desserts.
Do you also sell your soap at crafts fairs/markets, stores, etc.? Yes I do and I LOVE it. It is such a great way to meet your clients. They come back for more at every market. The least I can do I be there to sell it to them.
If selling online – what are the advantages to selling online? I love selling on line because it is almost passive income. I have already made the soap so it is not a custom order. I already have the ingredients in boat loads so when some one buys on line there is no stress as it is already pre packed. You just fill the order, take payment and ship it. Easy peasy.
What is your favourite fragrance or essential oil? My favourite EO is Neroli by far. I love this EO so much. The smell gets me every time. Fragrance would have to be Green Tea, uplifting and fresh. What are your most popular scents? My most popular are Vanilla, lemon Verbena, Lavindin EO, I have some spicy ones for the guys and those always sell well.
What soap crafting books have you read? Oh now that’s a list. I am an avid reader so I have a lot. My first book was Soap Naturally by P Garenza & Tadiello which I read from cover to cover while lying in hospital recovering from a back operation. I also have Soap handmade and pure by Tatyana hill, Soap bubbles and scrubs by Nicole Seabrook, Scientific Soapmaking by Kevin Dunn , Soap crafting by Anne Marie Faiola, Natural soapmaking by Bev Messing, Soapmaking the Natural way by Rebecca Ittner, The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss, Gourmet Soaps made Easy-Melinda Coss, SoapyLove Squeaky Clean soap projects-Debbie Chialtas, Bath Bombs, Elaine Stavert, The Soapmakers Companion- Susan Cavich, The Everything Soapmaking book-Alica Grosso… And more. I love to read.
Where do you get your soap/packaging ideas? I love Pinterest so I get quite a few ideas there but my sister is a chef so I get a lot of inspiration from food books. Packaging is another story… I really battle with this and find myself lost on many occasions. I think I need an intervention. Ha ha.
What advice would you give to new soap crafters? Be methodical, work tidy, have fun and grow organically. Don’t try to do it all at once. Your most important aspect of you business is cash flow. Manage like a tight fisted old lady.
How did you come up with your company’s name? That was a tough one. We went round in circles a lot. We were moving from the city (Durban on the east coast) to our farm in the Midlands and I thought maybe if the soap is made there I would take on the name of the farm. Hence Riverlea Soap.
Do you make and sell soap? Do you have your own online shop and want to be interviewed? If so, just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please use “Interview with Soap Crafter” in the subject heading.
Melt and pour glycerin soap should be wrapped in shrink wrap or plastic wrap. This is done for two reasons. 1. It preserves the moisture. 2. You can see the product. Although this slightly narrows your range of possibilities, packaging and labeling your handcrafted melt and pour soap doesn’t have to be boring. You can also use cling wrap in various colors and designs.
You can shrink wrap your soap with a special machine or with a heat gun used at the lowest setting. Personally, I haven’t ever used a machine to wrap my soap as I prefer the simple and economical method of using cling wrap and neatly taping the soap with a glossy finish tape.
You can have a theme to your soap such as floral, nautical, children’s, geographical, holiday, etc. Once it’s wrapped in clear plastic, you can tie a ribbon or strip of fabric around the soap to decorate it. Muslin, organza and net coverings could be used. Your presentation can be as simple or ornate as you choose. The easiest way to present your soap is to include it in a gift basket. Add in other bath and body products such as lotions, shampoo, conditioner, comb and brush, powder, perfume, wash cloths/towels, a loofah mitt, etc. Gift baskets [or bags] are great for a theme. For example, a children’s gift basket can include toys, and your soap could be added in inventive ways such as having a teddy bear holding it or placing it in the back of a toy car or truck.
The following recipe can be found in my eBook The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting. I’ve posted this recipe because it’s fun, easy and makes a nice springtime soap!
Went to the supermarket and discovered this 4-pack of colorful plastic gelatin molds. For $2 it was a great deal and they make some beautiful looking soaps.
Jelly Baby Melt and Pour Soap Recipe
16 ounces clear soap base
1 teaspoon strawberry fragrance
4 four-ounce gelatin molds
Slice up soap base into small cubes and melt. Just before it’s fully melted add colorant. Stir well. Add fragrance. Pour into molds. Spritz away any bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. Make sure soap is at room temperature before wrapping. Wrap in cling wrap and label.